When your mom and dad saddle you with the name Martin Luther there are really only two paths afforded you in life.
- You crumble under the weight of history and its judgement like all the other Moses's, Jesus's and Muhammad's crawling the earth in their tee-shirts and sandals.
- You own the memory of your namesake and rise to the occasion - whatever it is.
many qualities I like about the civil rights leader (and some I don't like) but one of the mountaintops he stood upon was the conviction that integration was a two way street. This concept is often overlooked by todays SJW community but King was very direct to his audience that both whites and blacks must change to effect a true integration of the races. So in the same way he expected white folks to stop using racial slurs and open up the neighborhood to black families he also expected black folks to stop using racial slurs and act right = "it's a black thing" just isn't going to cut it anymore. Of course all that ecumenical brotherhood of man stuff is long forgotten because racial identity took center stage post MLK assassination and, like the original Martin Luther, his movement took on a life of it's own. Though King was willing to get arrested for acts of civil disobedience in the early 1960's I think he wanted to create a world where he (or some other black man) wouldn't need be arrested 50 years later just to make a point (especially if that black man were a member of the US Congress).
"I am sure," said Dr. Leete, "that it is within the truth to say that the head of one of the myriad private businesses of your day, who had to maintain sleepless vigilance against the fluctuations of the market, the machinations of his rivals, and the failure of his debtors, had a far more trying task than the group of men at Washington who nowadays direct the industries of the entire nation. All this merely shows, my dear fellow, how much easier it is to do things the right way than the wrong. It is easier for a general up in a balloon, with perfect survey of the field, to manoeuvre a million men to victory than for a sergeant to manage a platoon in a thicket."In 1952 MLK wrote a letter to Coretta in which he gave an informal review of Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward: From 2000 to 1887" - a book she had recommended to him. King lovingly explains that though socialism is surly coming it will take it's sweet time in arriving and it simply must not arrive without God's blessing. Then he eases into an objection so as not to hurt his girlfriends feelings:
"The general of this army, including the flower of the manhood of the nation, must be the foremost man in the country, really greater even than the President of the United States," I said.
"He is the President of the United States," replied Dr. Leete, "or rather the most important function of the presidency is the headship of the industrial army."
"How is he chosen?" I asked.
"I explained to you before," replied Dr. Leete, "when I was describing the force of the motive of emulation among all grades of the industrial army, that the line of promotion for the meritorious lies through three grades to the officer's grade, and thence up through the lieutenancies to the captaincy or foremanship, and superintendency or colonel's rank. Next, with an intervening grade in some of the larger trades, comes the general of the guild, under whose immediate control all the operations of the trade are conducted. This officer is at the head of the national bureau representing his trade, and is responsible for its work to the administration. The general of his guild holds a splendid position, and one which amply satisfies the ambition of most men, but above his rank, which may be compared—to follow the military analogies familiar to you—to that of a general of division or major-general, is that of the chiefs of the ten great departments, or groups of allied trades. The chiefs of these ten grand divisions of the industrial army may be compared to your commanders of army corps, or lieutenant-generals, each having from a dozen to a score of generals of separate guilds reporting to him. Above these ten great officers, who form his council, is the general-in-chief, who is the President of the United States.
"The general-in-chief of the industrial army must have passed through all the grades below him, from the common laborers up. Let us see how he rises. As I have told you, it is simply by the excellence of his record as a worker that one rises through the grades of the privates and becomes a candidate for a lieutenancy. Through the lieutenancies he rises to the colonelcy, or superintendent's position, by appointment from above, strictly limited to the candidates of the best records. The general of the guild appoints to the ranks under him, but he himself is not appointed, but chosen by suffrage."
"By suffrage!" I exclaimed. "Is not that ruinous to the discipline of the guild, by tempting the candidates to intrigue for the support of the workers under them?"
"So it would be, no doubt," replied Dr. Leete, "if the workers had any suffrage to exercise, or anything to say about the choice. But they have nothing. Just here comes in a peculiarity of our system. The general of the guild is chosen from among the superintendents by vote of the honorary members of the guild, that is, of those who have served their time in the guild and received their discharge. As you know, at the age of forty-five we are mustered out of the army of industry, and have the residue of life for the pursuit of our own improvement or recreation. Of course, however, the associations of our active lifetime retain a powerful hold on us. The companionships we formed then remain our companionships till the end of life. We always continue honorary members of our former guilds, and retain the keenest and most jealous interest in their welfare and repute in the hands of the following generation. In the clubs maintained by the honorary members of the several guilds, in which we meet socially, there are no topics of conversation so common as those which relate to these matters, and the young aspirants for guild leadership who can pass the criticism of us old fellows are likely to be pretty well equipped. Recognizing this fact, the nation entrusts to the honorary members of each guild the election of its general, and I venture to claim that no previous form of society could have developed a body of electors so ideally adapted to their office, as regards absolute impartiality, knowledge of the special qualifications and record of candidates, solicitude for the best result, and complete absence of self-interest.
On the negative side of the picture Bellamy falls victim to the same error that most writers of Utopian societies fall victim to, viz., idealism not tempered with realism. In other words, such systems are impractical Bellamy with his over optimism fails to see that man is a sinner, and that he is give better economic and social conditions he will still be a sinner until he submits his life to the Grace of God. Ultimately our problem is [a?] theological one. Man has revolted against God, and through his humanistic endeavors he has sought to solve his problem by himself only to find that he ha has ended up in disillusionment.To say Bellamy's "idealism not tempered with realism" and "impractical" is putting is mildly to say the least. I understand that he didn't want to scare away his lady but how do you convince a materialist to submit to the Almighty? In MLKs approach you do it gently with a lot of patience and understanding and it's a shame he can't send John Lewis a letter along the lines of something he wrote in high school:
The spirit of Lincoln still lives; that spirit born of the teachings of the Nazarene, who promised mercy to the merciful, who lifted the lowly, strengthened the weak, ate with publicans, and made the captives free. In the light of this divine example, the doctrines of demagogues shiver in their chaff. Already closer understanding links Saxon and Freedman in mutual sympathy.John Lewis doesn't want to sand beside the Saxon - “It’s going to be hard. It's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president.” And I understand exactly where he's coming from because if you tried to create in a science laboratory the perfect specimen to refute almost every concept in Edward Bellamy's Utopian vision of the future, you couldn't come up with anything better than Donald J Trump. The modern Democratic party sprung from the hundreds of "Nationalist Clubs" Bellamy's book inspired and their technocratic Marxist mush is woven into the political DNA of many, many Democrats like John Lewis. Trump is illegitimate because "the honorary members of the guild" did not approve his elevation to "general-in-chief of the industrial army" (In Lewis's case that would be the civil rights guild, of which he is a long standing and devoted member). Trump just came in and took it with, or without, the Russians assistance is beside the point, and the point is that he's going to Make America Great Again. The fact that the Elvis from Queens was a Democrat, contributor to Democrat politicians, cultural barbarian and entertainment impresario only makes his apostasy that much more impossible to tolerate.
America experiences a new birth of freedom in her sons and daughters; she incarnates the spirit of her martyred chief. Their loyalty is repledged; their devotion renewed to the work He left unfinished. My heart throbs anew in the hope that inspired by the example of Lincoln, imbued with the spirit of Christ, they will cast down the last barrier to perfect freedom. And I with my brother of blackest hue possessing at last my rightful heritage and holding my head erect, may stand beside the Saxon--a Negro--and yet a man!
But tolerate it they must and the relevant point, in my view, is that John Lewis is an apostate (in this instance) to the movement, goals and vision of Martin Luther King. How could a man who worked side-by-side with King to enfranchise the black population with the vote and kick gaping holes in the wall of segregation turn his back on participating in the kind of civil ceremony they formerly were excluded from? Politically it makes no sense and MLK3 set everyone straight (despite the best efforts of the "free press" to incite civil strife) and reminded us all to keep our eye on the prize.
I was hoping that Trump would emerge from the elevator on MLK Day and publicly ask John Lewis to administer the oath to the general-in-chief on Inauguration Day. Bury the hatchet and not just "stand beside the Saxon" but swear him in to office with a "complete absence of self-interest."